When the Greek asked me if I was up for cocktails in the neighborhood as he was going to be this way, I suggested the Burritt Room, since when Madame Merle, GG and I attempted to try it out last week they were in the midst of a private party and our desire went unfulfilled. On this particular night the room was uncrowded, which is perfect for getting the feel of the place, if not exactly advantageous for the staff. I met him there shortly after 9:00 pm and we easily found seats and a hook underneath for my coat at the bar.
The Greek sampled a few different tequilas, all of them poured in a manner neither of us really appreciate, though they were of good quality and the selection is superior. I tried a "Critical Mass," a bourbon-based drink that is tasty but its sweetness precludes a second request. Needless to say, it paled compared to a Liberal. For the next round I ordered a perfect Sazerac rye Manhattan, which was perfectly made. They had just changed the drink menu and the bartender was still learning the new concoctions, but the wait wasn't bad. The room itself? Superb, especially since it wasn't crowded. Having said that, I may want to avoid the place on a busy night, but for now, this hard-to-find joint started by an ex-bartender at Bourbon and Branch can be considered a neighborhood gem and believe me, when one thinks of bars in the Union Square area, those are a rare thing indeed.
As for costs, I understand it's reasonable by design, but since I owe an "efcharisto" to the Greek for picking up the tab, I can't rightly comment. Regardless, I'd say check it out before it becomes as popular as "The Ambassador"- a place I loved when it opened but wouldn't even think of walking into now because it's basically douche city.